Ah, But Can You See

Jesus Heals a Blind Man II Painting by Melani Pyke

Daily Reflection – 11/16/2020

Sacred Scripture

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God. (Luke 18:35-43)

Reflection

Now this is a beautiful and powerful lesson in faith for each of us. But we need to see it in order to grasp it.

Here was Bartimaeus, a beggar by misfortune who once had vision but now is blind. Every day engaging in the same repetitive actions . . . feeling his way around the world that he could no longer see, destitute and dependent on whatever alms he could beg, locked in a world of total darkness. Most of us have experienced that in one form or another. There are life moments when we may be spiritually and emotionally blind – wondering whether anyone understands, cares and will even respond to our need. Some people pass by, some might offer a word of encouragement and pass by while others might lecture us without giving the caring and the love we need.

But Bartimaeus was different in one key trait. He had faith – a persistent faith. He already sees that Jesus can give him sight before Jesus does anything! The blind man knew that persistence was at the heart of receiving from Jesus. He calls out to Jesus but the crowds tell him to be quiet. But we persists.

 Jesus gives to the blind man what the blind man already believes.  Jesus doesn’t even claim to heal the man, he tells the blind man, “your faith has made you well.”  The fact that the man could see with the eyes of his heart enabled his eyes to be opened.  As St. Paul says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight”  (2 Corinthians 5:7).

What about us? Isn’t it true that we sometimes use faith as if it was a lottery ticket? We want to receive something from God, so we pray about it maybe once or twice and then, when we don’t receive it, we think, “Oh well, that’s that, then…”   

Encountering Jesus was no lottery for Bartimaeus: he was persistent until it happened. If we want to receive from God, we must develop persistence: not because he is unwilling to give to us and needs to be worn down but because, as we develop persistence, so we develop strong, spiritual character and we grow into spiritual maturity.

Bartimaeus knew something else that we sometimes forget because we do not really believe or because we don’t sense how important we are in God’s eyes. He knew specifically what he wanted. His request was tangible.  Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?” and he replied, “Lord, let me see again”. 

Tangible prayers, more specific prayers, are a great encouragement to us because we more easily recognize God’s acting in our lives.

As mortals, we will never comprehend all that God will do for us. None of us fully understand all the truth about God. We all have a weak understanding and we all have so much to learn: all of us are beginners in the faith.

But that doesn’t matter to Jesus: he does not ask for knowledge and learning. He asks only that we are persistent, that we respond to him when we hear him call and that we ask his involvement in our lives in a direct and tangible way.

If we join the blind man in approaching Christ like that then, like him, we will receive healing and peace and grace and our lives will be transformed.

Jesus said to the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He asks us the same question each day. Do we have the eyes of faith to believe that?

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see and understand the truth and goodness of your word. May I never fail to recognize your presence with me and to call upon your saving grace in my time of need and healing.

Daily Note

Jesus says two very beautiful things to Bartimaeus. The first is about the greater miracle than the healing of his physical sight. “Your faith has saved you!” The Lord not only gave him his wish to see but heard his initial cry to have mercy on him, and Jesus’ generosity far outdid Bartimaeus’ imagination to ask. Faith in response to God leads to salvation, and even though Bartimaeus didn’t dare ask for that, God gave it. And likewise, in response to our bold trust in him, in response to our leaving our stuff behind and hustling toward him, in response to our sincere telling him what we want, God responds by giving himself to us and granting us far more than we had implored.

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